A Green Comet Is Now Visible from Earth, Here's Where, When & How to See It

The rare comet is at its closest point to the Earth today and should remain visible for a few weeks.

This week, you might be able to see a comet that last crossed the Earth's skies some 50,000 years ago when Neanderthals and mammoths were alive.

The once-in-a-lifetime green comet, known of course for its greenish hue and known by the name C/2022 E3 (ZTF), is likely going to be visible from the Earth today, February 2, when it will reach its closest point—a mere 27 million miles away—to our planet. While you still might be able to see the green comet with a naked eye, it is advisable to bring a pair of binoculars or look through a telescope due to the comet's faintness. In order for stargazers to see it, though, there are a few requirements to keep in mind.

Finding a place without light pollution is essential for optimal viewing. The green comet is known to be pretty small, which means that its light will be quite dim when crossing the skies. For this reason, places like farmlands and wilderness areas are your best bet if you want to try and catch a glimpse of it. Viewers in the northern hemisphere have the best shot first, and then southern hemisphere stargazers will have improving odds in the days ahead, NPR notes.

Otherwise, you can aim for dedicated spaces, dubbed the International Dark Sky Parks, AS.com reports. These areas are protected for their "scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment," and they are famous for being incredible stargazing spots. There are several locations spread across the country, and you can find a full list here.

If nighttime stargazing is not your thing, you can try and get outside before the sun rises. One of the best times to catch the comet is, in fact, the early morning when the moon has gone over the horizon, which is about an hour and a half before the sun comes up.

Once you find your prime, dark stargazing spot, you need to know exactly where to look. The comet—which will appear as a tailless fuzzy ball—is following the northwest path, and in order for you to see it, you need to direct your eyes to the northwest of the space between the North Star and the cup of the Big Dipper. If you're looking for it in the morning hours, you'll need to look above and to the left of Polaris to see it.

And if all else fails, you can rely on a live-stream of a telescopic view of the green comet right here.

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.